Mary Watson Monument Cooktown

Cooktown, Cook Area

This monument was erected in 1886 by the residents of Cooktown honouring Mrs Mary Watson. Mary, her infant son and Chinese employee Ah Sam, perished from thirst and exposure after fleeing Lizard Island in October 1881. Ironically the memorial includes a water fountain.

Mary Watson's husband Robert had worked a bêche-de-mer processing operation on the island and both lived there after their 1880 marriage. Two Chinese men, Ah Sam and Ah Leong, assisted in the house and garden. Mary gave birth to her son in mid-1881. In September there was a conflict with an Aboriginal group while Robert was away. Ah Leong was killed and Ah Sam wounded.

Mary, the baby, and Ah Sam launched a cut-down ship's tank, and left the island on 1 October. They made it to No 5 Howick Island, which unfortunately lacked fresh water. Mary's last diary entry was on 11 October 1881. Returning to find signs of an attack and his wife and child missing, Watson searched in vain. Mary Watson, her son and Ah Sam's remains were found in January 1882. Mary Watson's story saw her raised to heroic status in Queensland's history.

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Mount Cook National Park

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
Rising 431 metres above the surrounding landscape, rugged Mount Cook is the scenic backdrop to Cooktown. Lieutenant Phillip Parker King named Mount Cook in June 1819 during his navigation of northern Australia.

Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park

Rossville, Cook Area
Free Entry
Black Mountain, an imposing mountain range of massive granite boulders, is home to unique wildlife and rich in Aboriginal culture. The brooding Black Mountain resembles a pile of huge black granite boulders, some the size of houses, stacked seemingly precariously upon one another.

Lizard Island

Lizard Island, Cook Area
Lizard Island is truly secluded from the rest of the world. With 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites, it is the most northern resort in tropical Queensland and is located directly on the Great Barrier Reef.

Cooktown

Cooktown, Cook Area
With bitumen all the way along the 330 kilometre inland Mulligan Highway from Cairns, Cooktown is easy to get to. If you want a more adventurous route, go four wheel-driving along the coastal Bloomfield Track crossing rivers and creeks through World Heritage-listed rainforest and join the highway at the mysterious pile of rocks known as Black Mountain.

Hope Vale

Hope Vale,
Hope Vale Aboriginal community lies 40 kilometres north of Cooktown. Originally established as a Moravian Lutheran Mission on the east coast near Cape Bedford, the community was later moved to its present location.

Cooktown Botanic Gardens and Gallop Botanic Reserve

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
Nature's Powerhouse Visitor Information Centre at the Cooktown Botanic Gardens provides all the information you need to explore this site. Established in 1878 as the Gallop Botanic Reserve, it comprises a formal botanic garden, and a substantial natural forest and ocean frontage.

Cobia Hole Dive Site

Lizard Island, Cook Area
Free Entry
Located just off the shore of Lizard Island north of Cairns, Cobia Hole features a jumble of rocks, no bigger than a tennis court, decorated with marine life. With a maximum depth of 18 metres, this rocky outcrop is home to hovering sweetlips, emperors, cobia, estuary cod and more.
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